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Standing Stone Games Aquisition of LOTRO and DDO

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Excerpt:

The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online have been acquired by Standing Stone Games, a newly-formed independent game studio made up of the same groups that have been working on LOTRO and DDO for years. We remain committed to both games, and are thrilled to be able to take these games in exciting directions for a long time to come. Standing Stone Games will operate as an independent studio, with global publishing support from Daybreak Games.

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  1. Today, 01:08 PM #1

    Standing Stone Games Transition FAQ

    What’s happening:
    The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online have been acquired by Standing Stone Games, a newly-formed independent game studio made up of the same groups that have been working on LOTRO and DDO for years. We remain committed to both games, and are thrilled to be able to take these games in exciting directions for a long time to come. Standing Stone Games will operate as an independent studio, with global publishing support from Daybreak Games.

    What does this mean?
    It’s business as usual for both LOTRO and DDO’s operations and development. Both games will continue along their respective development paths and bring you the content you enjoy.

    What is happening to Turbine?
    Turbine will no longer be involved in the development of LOTRO and DDO. They will continue on the development of their products.

    What about my account?
    Your account login information remains the same. You’ll keep all purchases, including Turbine Points, VIP subscription time, Lifetime Memberships for LOTRO, and any things you’ve picked up through the in-game Store.

    Are you planning to make any changes to the cost of VIP?
    We are always looking for additional ways to offer the best value to our VIP players. The cost and value of the VIP program remains unchanged, although it's possible we may offer additional benefits or tiers of subscription in the future.

    What’s happening to Turbine Points?
    Your point total remains intact. The name of your points will change from Turbine Points to DDO or LOTRO Points, but the value of these points will not change.

    What about game cards like Turbine Point cards and subscription time cards?
    You’ll still be able to redeem game cards you’ve purchased.

    What about my Lifetime Membership?
    Your Lifetime Membership will continue to be honored, and no changes to it will be made.

    Will this require any downtime or impact our ability to login?
    We encourage players to keep an eye on our social media feeds and forums, as there may be some periods of downtime while we do technical and other work in the coming weeks. Our plan is to of course minimize the amount of downtime to the least possible.

    Will the servers be changing?
    We'll continue to operate out of our existing data center, and there are no plans to change servers in any way.

    What does this mean for licensing of the Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings IPs?
    We’ve updated our licensing agreements without issue and will continue that relationship.

    How do we contact customer service after the transition?
    support.turbine.com

    Does this mean the games are shutting down?
    No! On the contrary, we are extremely excited by this transition into an independent studio, and we can't wait to work on the game long into the future.

    Are the web sites changing? What about Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites?
    We may do some work on DDO.com and LOTRO.com in the future, but the web sites and social media URLs will stay the same. We'll be switching out some corporate logos and such in the coming weeks, of course, but if you've subscribed to us on YouTube or liked us on Facebook, for example, there's nothing you'll need to do.

    How does this impact Daybreak Games?
    Daybreak Game Company’s role as publisher for LOTRO and DDO should have no impact on any existing Daybreak games.
 

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http://massivelyop.com/2016/12/19/turbine-spins-lotro-and-ddo-teams-out-to-new-studio-using-daybreak-as-publisher/

Turbine spins LOTRO and DDO teams out to new studio, using Daybreak as publisher

Welp, didn’t see this one coming.

Turbine has just announced that it’s spinning off the Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online teams into a new studio called Standing Stone Games, which will use none other than Daybreak to publish around the world. Here’s the whole thing:

 

Today we have some momentus news! The game teams responsible for The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) are now moving from Turbine to Standing Stone Games, a newly formed indie game studio. In addition, we’ve partnered with Daybreak Games to provide global publishing services. They’ve had a long, successful history developing and publishing MMOs, and we’re happy to lean on their expertise.

With the announcement out of the way, I wanted to talk to you about what all this means.

We’re embarking on an exciting adventure as Standing Stone Games, a newly-independent studio staffed by people who have been working on DDO and LOTRO for many years. The teams remain very much committed to both games and are thrilled to continue development and operations of these games as an independent studio. This is an opportunity for us to bring about our dreams while still working on two of the biggest licenses in video games. It’s a huge honor, and for you this means your games will continue to grow and improve. We love to focus on games with a high level of depth and scope, and we can’t wait to show you what the future brings.

Although a great many exciting things are happening on our end, you’ll be able to continue playing the game(s) you enjoy with as little interruption as possible. Our development continues on track, and the plans we have already announced remain firmly in our future view. Again, although we are a new studio, we are also the same developers who have been and will continue to work on our games.

Our success has always been possible because of your support. As we move forward, this is more important than ever. The ultimate goal of our new studio is to continue to bring you amazing experiences. We are excited for the future, and we’re thrilled to have you with us on this journey.

Here’s to great games, epic adventures, and memorable times with friends!

The official FAQ says that it’s “business as usual” for the dev teams. “Turbine will no longer be involved in the development of LOTRO and DDO.” It appears that very little is changing on the player end; the games will continue on with their existing data centers, business models, account system, and so forth.

“We are extremely excited by this transition into an independent studio, and we can’t wait to work on the game long into the future,” says the LOTRO team. “Daybreak Game Company’s role as publisher for LOTRO and DDO should have no impact on any existing Daybreak games.”

We have reached out to Turbine for clarification on a number of questions, including Asheron’s Call. We’ll update you all when we have answers!

Source: Official forums. Thanks, Triski!
 
=====================================

And this is the related website:

http://standingstonegames.com/

 

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22 minutes ago, Jedy2 said:

Help! Is it good or bad??? What about license? Help! 

I can't see losing the backing of WB as a good thing

  • Upvote 1

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No idea if this will be good or bad.

On one hand you have a small independent developer who may not have the same focus on the bottom line like a big company has.  On the other they dont have the same level of resources to invest in the game and may have to go for short term cash grabs in order to recoup what ever they paid for the games.

I wonder just how much they actually paid

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Well at least that clears up some licensing.  They seem to say they have a license from Saul Zaentz, aka a renewed one.

Whether Zaentz has a license to give out licenses (from Tolkien enterprises) is still disputed. I didn't see any news of the lawsuit lately.

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1 hour ago, Laurinaohtar said:

I can't see losing the backing of WB as a good thing

Hmm, I was actually thinking the exact opposite.  But to be fair, none of us know the inner workings and how tight WB held the purse strings.

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Maybe, it's possible Turbine want to focus on mobile gaming and lotro would just have been in maintenance mode anyway. Perhaps this will give it a new lease of life, I hope I am wrong about it being a bad thing.

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2 hours ago, Darmokk said:

Well at least that clears up some licensing.  They seem to say they have a license from Saul Zaentz, aka a renewed one.

 

That's not how I read it.  I would have expected them to state quite clearly that the licence had been extended if that had been the case.  My take on "We’ve updated our licensing agreements without issue and will continue that relationship" would be that the current licence has been transferred over with the acquisition and that they'll still have to negotiate the renewal next year.

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Just now, JRonnie said:

That's not how I read it.  I would have expected them to state quite clearly that the licence had been extended if that had been the case.  My take on "We’ve updated our licensing agreements without issue and will continue that relationship" would be that the current licence has been transferred over with the acquisition and that they'll still have to negotiate the renewal next year.

I read that as well. They are probably in negotiations already regarding an extension.

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3 hours ago, Papi said:

Hmm, I was actually thinking the exact opposite.  But to be fair, none of us know the inner workings and how tight WB held the purse strings.

I think this is a bad thing.

I imagine that part of the reason Turbine was purchased by Warner Brothers was because Turbine did not have the revenue to remain afloat. Since then, things have only gotten worse, Players have been driven away by the series of disappointing expansions leading up to the Helms Deep debacle, the mistreatment of players by certain employees, and the history of abandoned projects and broken promises. And few new players are coming into the game, mostly because WB did not bother to promote the game, even when there were obvious marketing opportunities (e.g., the Hobbit films).

Then, there is the fact that one of the explicitly-stated reason that WB purchased LOTRO was to consolidate all of the licenses. That WB is now dumping LOTRO suggests either 1) that WB is abandoning the LoTR strategy, perhaps because they no longer see any way to profit from those licenses, or 2) that LOTRO is a money pit, and WB saw an opportunity for one more pot of gold before the whole thing crashes.

A boutique studio is pretty much going to be forced to find a way to increase their revenue. That means that either they are going to have to invest in much more promotion, or they are going to have to squeeze the existing player base.

It's all about the money, and if Standing Stone can't increase the revenues, the game could disappear without any warning.

 

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12 minutes ago, Talisman said:

I think this is a bad thing.

I imagine that part of the reason Turbine was purchased by Warner Brothers was because Turbine did not have the revenue to remain afloat. Since then, things have only gotten worse, Players have been driven away by the series of disappointing expansions leading up to the Helms Deep debacle, the mistreatment of players by certain employees, and the history of abandoned projects and broken promises. And few new players are coming into the game, mostly because WB did not bother to promote the game, even when there were obvious marketing opportunities (e.g., the Hobbit films).

Then, there is the fact that one of the explicitly-stated reason that WB purchased LOTRO was to consolidate all of the licenses. That WB is now dumping LOTRO suggests either 1) that WB is abandoning the LoTR strategy, perhaps because they no longer see any way to profit from those licenses, or 2) that LOTRO is a money pit, and WB saw an opportunity for one more pot of gold before the whole thing crashes.

A boutique studio is pretty much going to be forced to find a way to increase their revenue. That means that either they are going to have to invest in much more promotion, or they are going to have to squeeze the existing player base.

It's all about the money, and if Standing Stone can't increase the revenues, the game could disappear without any warning.

 

None of us had a problem giving LOTRO money.

We just didn't want to be blackmailed into it and not being treated like idiots for it. Which is what Turbine has been doing since f2p.

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Daybreak is an interesting publisher, as they're publishing EQ, EQ2 and DCO.  So the publisher knows how to keep old games online.

As far as a new studio goes, it's completely up in the air.  If LotRO cannot pick up the update pace to be at least quarterly for major updates, I'm not going to hold out much hope for it.

DDO should likely be fine, as the bigger issue there is DDO being based off of 3.5 and the licensing therein.

 

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heh i've had a topic i wanted to start for a good month now along the lines of ,"What Warner needs to do to bring it's game studios in line with the current market"  & talk about what is happening with Amazon game studios   & their new game engine Lumberyard  & how i thought that would be a good direction to take for Warner's Umbrella of Development studios, but i held back...

because with all the recent Developments of Warner being purposed for sale (merger with AT&T currently) i knew pursuit of a concept like what Amazon is developing, would never happen as Warner attempts to get their books in order to make the acquisition of their company look good on the books.

so now with these developments...  not completely unexpected, but a tad unusual.

i fully expect Warner will be shutting Turbine down.  i don't foresee Turbine continuing (with mobile games) after this license transfer is completed. to clean up the books, Warner will shut turbine down fairly soon.

as to the license transfers of DDO & LOTRO...  that one is interesting...  does daybreak act as some kind of interim holding for games?

i'll admit i hadn't payed much attention with the Everquest situation, as i had never intended to play that title.  did SONY not let the Everquest stuff go to Daybreak for bookkeeping purposes also?  was it a complete transfer of IP?

will have to watch for news regarding Warner Entertainment division, but unless they see the LOTRO franchise as exhausted?  and DDO, Warner have a movie in production on the books...  so without more info, the whole situation is a bit strange.  i can't see them letting the intellectual property go, but with acquisitions...   who knows, but for the parties involved in the sale...

Turbine though, almost 100% certain it is done.

as to how LOTRO & DDO will continue?  my initial suspicion of being run as "Legacy" Titles on a Warner games network seems now to be "up in smoke."  but i suspect Daybreak Games as publisher for a new studio, may be something, less ambitious, but similar.

whether Warner retains IP rights into the future...  guess will have to wait on merger news.  i'll certainly be looking for news of that DDO movie either going ahead, or getting the axe.

anyway, not surprised by the news, but the creation of a new small studio & publisher transfer is interesting.  Warner is cleaning up its books for sale/merger.

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21 minutes ago, Almagnus1 said:

Daybreak is an interesting publisher, as they're publishing EQ, EQ2 and DCO.  

 

What is important about Daybreak is that it is recently a troubled company. It was Sony Online Entertainment before, but was sold off in 2015 by Sony. They had layoffs then. John Smedley (President) left the company and then later Russell Shanks (President) left also. I have no idea if they have stabilized financially, but this company is nothing like a typical, stable, successful games publisher.  

Their most recent fame is for butchering H1Z1, doing a cash grab with the battle royal mode of the game, splitting the game in 2, and then abandoning development of the main H1Z1 game. H1Z1 itself does not look like it will have a long life. Although, this did milk it for a ton of money without ever finishing the game.  

Landmark / EverQuest Next anyone? This is Daybreak's game. How is that game coming?

They also really screwed up Planetside 2 - a game that had huge potential.

Some of their games they shut down:
Everquest Next:    cancelled on March 11, 2016
Legends of Norrath:     closed August 17, 2016
Planetside:   closed July 1, 2016
Dragon's Prophet:   closed November 16, 2015
Magic: The Gathering – Tactics:   closed March 28, 2014
Free Realms:    closed March 31, 2014
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes:    July 31, 2014

Everquest, Everquest II, DC Universe Online and Planetside 2 are still running. Landmark has been essentially abandoned without an official comment. H1Z1 is still being developed, but it is generally agreed they are doing a bad job with Planetside 2 and H1Z1 - which are their two biggest games in active development. 

Overall, I would say Lotro's future is pretty uncertain. I imagine Lotro will kept running but put on maintenance mode like EQ2 and DCUO. They may try to milk money out of it however by putting out some small, new content.

They have done a decent job keeping EQ, EQ2 and DCUO running, but AFAIK without any new development.

 

 

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7 hours ago, nosam9 said:

Some of their games they shut down:
Everquest Next:    cancelled on March 11, 2016
Legends of Norrath:     closed August 17, 2016
Planetside:   closed July 1, 2016
Dragon's Prophet:   closed November 16, 2015
Magic: The Gathering – Tactics:   closed March 28, 2014
Free Realms:    closed March 31, 2014
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes:    July 31, 2014
 

 

 

The only thing I will add here, is that weren't these games specifically being developed by Daybreak?  That is not the case with LotRO and DDO--Daybreak will simply handle the publishing aspect of the game (internationally, etc.)

A silver lining perhaps, but I agree...the future is uncertain.

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9 hours ago, Darmokk said:

 

We just didn't want to be blackmailed into it and not being treated like idiots for it.

I don't think double negations are not tricky. ;)

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I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic with this one. This could very well be because of creative differences between the devs and Turbine/WB. The devs want to make an actual game, Turbine/WB wants to make an expensive slot machine. Or maybe this is just me looking for wish fulfillment. I guess time will tell.

I wonder if Standing Stone Games will try to poach old lotro/ddo devs back onto the projects. I wouldn't mind seeing Orion back and actually explaining his thought process. Though this is clearly just me wanting wish fulfillment :)

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8 minutes ago, Ilodid said:

I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic with this one. This could very well be because of creative differences between the devs and Turbine/WB. The devs want to make an actual game, Turbine/WB wants to make an expensive slot machine. Or maybe this is just me looking for wish fulfillment. I guess time will tell.

I wonder if Standing Stone Games will try to poach old lotro/ddo devs back onto the projects. I wouldn't mind seeing Orion back and actually explaining his thought process. Though this is clearly just me wanting wish fulfillment :)

Maybe not right away, but once the Game of Thrones mobile game tanks, the folks let go from Turb could hopefully get picked up by Standing Stone. 

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I think this is a bad sign. If the game was making a decent profit, I don't think Warner would have let it go. I wonder if this has come about because Warner were not planning on renewing the license in 2017. If that were the case, the devs probably got the game's assets quite cheaply.

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